12.07.09

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Microsoft Sued Several More Times for Patent Infringement

Posted in America, Courtroom, Intellectual Monopoly, Microsoft, Patents at 10:22 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

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Summary: Numerous new lawsuits are launched against Microsoft, which is accused of patent violations in different areas (Implicit Networks, NetView, and Eleven Engineering as plaintiffs)

TECHDIRT has this new post which it titled “Live By The Patent, Get Sued By The Patent”

Brian writes in to let us know that a patent holding firm, with a long history of suing a bunch of big name tech firms is now suing Microsoft as well, claiming that every copy of Vista, Windows 7, and Windows Server 2008 violate its patent 6629163 on “Demultiplexing a First Sequence of Packet Components to Identify Specific Components Wherein Subsequent Components are Processed without Re-Identifying Components.”

Microsoft knew what it was getting itself into. Groklaw has just found this recent article where Microsoft shows algorithms as mathematics (a fact they later deny when lobbying for software patents).

For 70 years, mathematicians have been stuck on the Halting Problem: Computers occasionally hang on one line of code and fail to move on to the next, and no one can reliably predict when that will happen. (The result is the unending hourglass or pinwheel of death.) But a few years ago, Microsoft researcher Byron Cook and his colleagues did the unthinkable — they hacked a fix. When Cook tried to describe the workaround, however, he found it impossible to explain with existing mathematical symbols.

Anyway, here is more information about Vista 7 violations which leave Microsoft vulnerable. Microsoft getting sued for software patents infringement was inevitable (there are over 50 patent infringement cases pending against Microsoft, which make up a large proportion of the whole). “Implicit Networks” is the plaintiff and it seems to be all about patents, not products.

Implicit Networks launched a law suit against Microsoft in a California district court, alleging the software giant had breached a patent it owns.

There is another new patent lawsuit against Microsoft, this time from NetView Technologies which has real products.

Founded in 2000 by Robert Handsaker and Gregory Rasin, Belmont, Mass.-based NetView Technologies Inc. is a business-software maker whose flagship product is a product designed to manage employee incentives by tracking sales, sales quotas and compensation. The company’s software uses Microsoft’s widely popular Excel spreadsheet product.

More information can be found here:

A Belmont software company has filed suit today in U.S. District Court in Boston against Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT), claiming the Redmond, Wash.-based software giant infringed its patent on a business method for extracting data from spreadsheets.

With over 50 patent cases (and growing) under its wing, Microsoft is likely to come under great pressure. Microsoft had to lay off many lawyers and lower the legal budget by a staggering 15%, so will it be able to keep up? It wanted software patents and Microsoft boosters like Alexander Wolfe defend the practice in relation to a Fog Computing patent, joined by other shills like Maureen O’Gara [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]. Gavin Clarke wrote about this patent last week and O’Gara cites colleagues from the Microsoft community. There is also Dan Lyons, who is cursing Microsoft’s competition this week, but that’s another story altogether.

A third new lawsuit dawns upon Microsoft, this time coming from Canada, just like i4i [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10]. Microsoft will be one among three defendants though.

Bloomberg News and the San Jose Mercury News are reporting that Eleven Engineering Inc. [http://www.elevenengineering.com/home/], a maker of microprocessors for home entertainment systems, has claimed the controllers for the Xbox 360, Wii and PlayStation 3 game systems incorporate wireless features patented by the company, and that the three game companies are using the technology without permission.

Here is information about the claimant:

Eleven Engineering, based in Edmonton, Canada, said it is a global leader in digital wireless technologies – supplying component and semiconductors to electronics companies.

Other such lawsuits are threatening Linux devices (Nook) and a Canadian giant, RIM, is currently facing a BlackBerry embargo due to patents.

Research In Motion Ltd., the maker of the BlackBerry phone, is facing a patent-infringement complaint with a U.S. trade agency that may result in the devices being banned from the U.

How on Earth are all these lawsuits beneficial to the industry as a whole, including customers? They are not. The Against Monopoly Web site has this new essay decrying the obsession with intellectual monopolies. To quote just a portion. [via Jose X]

To cut a long thing short, the moment I realised that there is a conflict between rights to intellectual property and rights to physical property, I also realised that something is wrong about the whole thing. Such a contradiction usually means that something is wrong with the premises of the person facing the contradiction – me.

Restricting a person from giving physical shape to an idea he has in his mind is clearly a violation of his Liberty and Property Rights. However, this is precisely what implementation of IP means. IP proponents typically tent to retort saying that what I am calling “violation of Liberty and Property Rights” is actually implementation of the property rights of the owner of the idea/pattern that is the subject of the IP.

If it is true that in the name of protecting Intellectual Property Rights, one is actually violating the Liberty of some individuals, in effect one is also saying that the holders of Intellectual Property have an undefined lien on the Liberty of the individuals of the other part. Translated, this gives some individuals the right to enslave others by virtue of being holders of Intellectual Property rights. This made the notion all the more bizarre to me. It was in direct contradiction of the most basic principles of Objectivism that no man may claim the right to initiate force against another.

Even Microsoft knew that patents are detrimental, but that was before it became a monopoly in constant need for intellectual monopolies that cement its dominant position. Here is how it came about.

“If people had understood how patents would be granted when most of today’s ideas were invented, and had taken out patents, the industry would be at a complete standstill today.”

Bill Gates (when Microsoft was smaller)

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